By Kim Walter
Kids aren't the only ones taking advantage of reading programs this summer.
Samuels Public Library in Front Royal started its first adult summer reading program about three weeks ago, and the staff is pleasantly surprised with participation so far.
Nicki Lynch, library director, has worked at libraries before that hosted summer reading programs for adults. She thought a similar program had its place in the community.
The program kicked off on June 10, and featured author L.B. Taylor Jr., an authority on Virginia hauntings and ghosts. Lynch said library staff members hoped to enroll 100 adults in the program by the end of summer.
"We wound up seeing 100 adults at the event, so that goal was quickly reached," she said Friday.
Now, a few weeks later, almost 200 adults are signed up for the program, and they've read 701 books so far.
While some participating adults are reading on their own, Lynch said many are using the program to motivate children in their family.
"We thought it would be nice this year to let the kids compete with their parents," she said. "This helps get the whole family involved and everyone reading."
There are incentives for the adult readers -- if they log in their books online, they'll be entered to win a weekly prize. The Friends of Samuels Library is sponsoring the adult program and provided a variety of gift cards that are awarded to one random winner every morning until Aug. 5.
The gift cards come from Martin's, Target, Joe's Steakhouse, Soul Mountain and other local establishments.
All participants are eligible for the grand prize drawing: an Amazon Kindle and gift card.
When it comes to comparing the children's summer reading program to the adult's, Lynch said there's a clear winner at this point.
"There are 930 kids signed up with 5,771 books read so far," she said. "So the kids are winning, hands down."
Lynch said the friendly competition probably doesn't mean as much to the adults, and a lot of parents are spending more time reading to their kids than logging their own books. However, that's kind of the point.
"Can you imagine what an incredible handicap you give your child by not teaching him [or her] the gift of reading as early as you can?" she said. "This is what we do as a library, and I'm happy to see new faces from our community get involved."
The adult summer reading program will run until Aug. 5. To sign up, go to www.samuelslibrary.net or call 540-635-3153.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or firstname.lastname@example.org